Tuesday 12 December 2017

'Awful' error by Brady, admits bishop

Breda Heffernan and David Young

A BISHOP yesterday admitted Cardinal Sean Brady made an awful error in "judgment" in not reporting paedophile priest Brendan Smyth to police.

However, Auxiliary Bishop of Down and Connor Donal McKeown defended the embattled leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland and insisted this did not make him a bad person.

Bishop McKeown said people have a right to feel sceptical if the current leadership of the Catholic Church fails to address properly the clerical child abuse scandal.

He said the cardinal could have handled better the controversy over the church's 1975 investigation into Smyth, and he "recognises that himself".

"People must be accountable for their actions. And the cardinal has certainly done that, except that in the light of where we are now, he made an awful error of judgment and he's very, very ashamed of that," Bishop McKeown said.

The cleric added that even if people make bad decisions, that doesn't make them a bad person.


"I think the cardinal will be looking at this, not in the sense of 'do I have to jump in order to satisfy some sort of agenda', but 'how can I as a person in the presence of Christ actually take responsibility for my actions and the past'."

He suggested the idea of a "repentant wounded healer" could be a better type of leadership for the modern church.

However, Bishop McKeown said unless church leaders in the weeks ahead give some sign that they are able to generate hope for the future, then they deserve to lose the credibility and support of the people.

"I think people have a right to be wary, even sceptical, about the ability of the current church leadership to actually take the steps that are involved. These are going to be very critical days and weeks," he told RTE's 'Morning Ireland'.

Meanwhile, a Stormont minister yesterday called for a Murphy-style state inquiry into the extent of institutional and clerical child abuse in the North.

"The issues involved here are extensive and complex and I have sought to reflect that complexity in the paper," northern Health Minister Michael McGimpsey said.

"Our intention is to ensure that in meeting the needs of victims -- whether by issuing apologies, establishing inquiries or setting up new compensation arrangements -- that no victims are left behind.

"I believe that action must be taken to address the pain and distress caused to so many victims," he added.

Bishop of Down and Connor Noel Treanor yesterday reiterated his support for any state inquiry, saying his diocese would "fully co-operate" with any investigation.

The Bishop of Waterford and Lismore William Lee also said his diocese would co-operate fully with any government inquiry.

A spokesman for Joseph Duffy, the Bishop of Clogher, which includes parts of Co Fermanagh and Co Tyrone, said he had already co-operated fully with the statutory authorities by sharing "all known records with them".

Irish Independent

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